We seek to deliver sustainable investment solutions across real assets categories, geographies, risk profiles and execution formats so that our clients, people and communities thrive. One of the world’s leading real assets investment managers, our team is responsible for more than $147.6bn of assets under management.
INDUSTRIAL: Logistics remains the preferred sector
We remain committed to the Asia-Pacific logistics sector, the sector in which we have the greatest conviction. We recommend focusing on domestic demand, consumer-driven submarkets and heightening discipline on submarket selection. Given increased supply pipelines in some markets, it’s important to enhance leasing appeal with modern attributes such as ramp access for multi-story logistics facilities.
The drivers of the Asia-Pacific logistics sector’s performance are long-term and structural in nature, including a growing consumer population, e-commerce growth, a lack of modern logistics stock and a structural undersupply of logistics stock in many Asian markets. We are seeing the re-emergence of manufacturing in some markets such as Japan due to global supply chain issues from the pandemic.
Rent growth outlook
Logistics rent growth varies by country, with Australia forecast to see the strongest average annual logistics rent growth (4.5%) over the next five years, while South Korea is forecast to see weaker average annual growth (0.7%).Australia’s strong rent growth outlook is partially driven by record-low vacancy rates. It’s important to note that Japan’s rent growth outlook of 1.1% per annum, while modest compared to other Asia-Pacific markets, is higher than country’s historic average annual rental growth rate of 0.5% over the past 15 years (2008-22).
OFFICE: Asia-Pacific office rent growth varies by country, with China (1.0%) and Japan (0.2%) forecast to see the weakest average annual rent growth over the next five years due to high vacancy and larger supply pipelines, while South Korea is forecast to see the strongest average annual office rent growth (2.9%), followed by Australia (2.8%).
RESIDENTIAL: Residential rent growth, which currently reflects Japanese and Australian markets, is forecast to average 2.4% per annum in the next five years. Australian residential average annual rent growth is much stronger (5.3%) than Japan (1.9%). However, since Japan is a much larger institutional residential market it weighs more on the overall Asia-Pacific average.
As for residential, both Japanese and Australian residential are well positioned for the coming five-year period. Office performance varies by country, with Singapore and South Korea best positioned over the next five years, while Japanese, Chinese and Australian office markets fall below the relative RARE line. The outlook for retail is weak, with only Japanese retail positioned above the relative RARE line. Hotel markets in Japan are forecast to outperform provided the base case rebound occurs.
Japanese residential continue to offer value
Tokyo and Osaka, Japan’s largest rental residential markets, show continued resilience in both rent growth and capital appreciation. We prefer the relative stability and liquidity of inner ward-located towers catering to mass-market segments and offering both smaller and medium-sized units. We recommend adding amenities to enhance livability. With continued net migration into gateway cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, we expect residential demand to remain robust, especially given low Japanese unemployment, which is forecast to trend even lower over the next five years (2023-27), according to Oxford Economics. Although Japan’s population is forecast to decline 4.4% from 2020 to 2030, Tokyo’s and Osaka’s population are forecast to grow by 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively, over the same period, according to Oxford Economics. On the supply side, high land prices and increasing construction costs are constraining new residential supply.
Australian living sectors to benefit from increased demand
The Australian living sectors, co-living and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) in particular, are positioned well to benefit from increased demand from migration and international students amid relatively low residential supply and low vacancy rates. As of July 2023, Sydney’s metropolitan residential vacancy rate was 1.6%, while Melbourne’s residential metropolitan vacancy rate was 1.3%, according to CBRE. In early 2022, Australia reopened its borders after an almost two-year closure during the pandemic. The return of overseas migration is underway, with net overseas migration in 2022 already surpassing the prior peak in 2008. Meanwhile, Australian national apartment approvals (as measured by rolling 12-month approvals) are still more than 40% below the 2015-16 peak, with the decline in apartment approvals particularly evident for larger developments in the major capitals.. As of June 2023, median apartment rents in Sydney and Melbourne were up 27.6% and 22% year-over-year, respectively, according to CBRE and Domain Group.
RETAIL: Although e-commerce growth is moderating in some markets, the share of e-commerce sales to total retail sales remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels. For example, the Australian ratio of e-commerce sales to total retail sales was 10.5% in July 2023, compared to 6.9% in December 2019, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Meanwhile, the Chinese ratio of e-commerce sales to total retail sales was 26.6% in H1 2023 up from 20.7% in 2019, according to CBRE China. Further, China, Japan and South Korea are three of the five largest e-commerce markets globally as measured by sales, according to eMarketer. The outlook for retail is weak, with only Japanese retail positioned above the relative RARE line.
OTHER: Data centres, which represent just Japanese data centres, offer a slightly weaker five-year annualised levered total return of 8.9% relative to the Asia-Pacific all-property aggregate. Nonetheless, there may be select data centre opportunities, given increased data consumption, cloud computing and artificial intelligence usage.
Investment principles & strategy
Realise new life in your investment’s lifecycle
Our experienced teams – whose interests are aligned with both investors and occupiers—employ a consistent and rigorous insights-based investment and risk-mitigation process. We aim to align investor goals with occupier needs and believe that helping our investors understand the changing needs of end users will create superior long-term performance.
Our affiliation with CBRE enhances our offering as an investor and operator of real assets. This, coupled with our flexibility to work with other leading service providers, means we can deliver on all aspects of an investment’s lifecycle. We believe this enhances value for both investors and occupiers.
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